Hello, we are Mike Trevisan and Tamara Walser. Mike is a Dean and Professor at Washington State University and Tamara is a Professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. We are excited to provide a workshop on evaluability assessment (EA) as part of the upcoming AEA Eval2021 conference. We have written an aea365blog post on EA before— in fact, we count 12 blog posts directly focused on EA since 2011 and several others that touch on EA in one way or another. Thus, there continues to be interest in the power and potential of this evaluation approach.
EA got its start in the 1970s as a pre-evaluation activity to determine the readiness of a program for outcome evaluation. As evaluation theory and practice has evolved over the decades, so has EA. We advocate EA as an evaluation approach that can be used at any point in a program’s lifecycle. EA supports decisions about the feasibility of and best approaches for further evaluation and can provide information to fill in gaps between program theory and reality—to increase program benefit. EA can be used for a variety of other purposes important to programs and organizations, and their communities, such as refining program theory, supporting culturally responsive and equitable evaluation, building evaluation capacity, and addressing program complexity. There are others. In short, there is vibrancy in the use of EA, reflected in the literature and professional practice. How have you used EA in your practice?
Our November 16 workshop centers the value of stakeholder engagement in EA—that is, engaging programs and organizations, and their communities in EA planning, implementation, and use. This supports the quality of the EA as well as subsequent and ongoing evaluation work. Through this lens, we will share the basics of implementing an EA, using our 4-component EA model:
- Developing program theory as part of evaluation got its start with EA.
- The United Nations Evaluation Group includes EA as part of their Norms and Standards guidance for evaluating UN-sponsored programs and projects.
- The Canadian Evaluation Society includes assessing program evaluability among its Competencies for Canadian Evaluators.
- The GUIDE Criteria for Principles-Focused Evaluation serve as an evaluability assessment framework for principles.
Consider joining us on November 16 as we explore Evaluability Assessment and Stakeholder Engagement: Nuts and Bolts for Effective Practice.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to email@example.com . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
1 thought on “The Many Purposes of Evaluability Assessment by Mike Trevisan and Tamara Walser”
I am new to the world of evaluation and was directed to AEA 365 by my University professor at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. I found your blog post to be interesting and can see the benefit to learning more about Evaluability Assessment, especially being new. I appreciated reading about its start in 1970 and reading about how it has evolved to encompass many aspects of evaluation. I would especially find EA valuable in bridging program theory and reality. As someone who has almost completed 1 university course in evaluation and working on my first Program Evaluation Design, bridging the theory that is being learned and the the reality of completing an evaluation is one that is a bit tricky and possibly learning more about EA can make this less complicated.
Thank you for your blog post!